From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Ohio County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Ohio County, located in the western region of Kentucky, was established in 1798 from a portion of Hardin County and named for the Ohio River: The county ran along the river before it was divided into additional counties. Hartford, the county seat, was named for a deer crossing, hart ford. The land was part of a grant that Gabriel Madison received from Virginia, and Fort Hartford was one of the first settlements in the area.

The 1800 county population was 1,223, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 1,069 whites, 151 enslaved, and three free coloreds. The population increased to 10,919 by 1860, according to the U.S. Federal Census, excluding the enslaved. Below are the number of slave owners, enslaved, free Blacks and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 327 slave owners
  • 865 Black slaves
  • 268 Mulatto slaves
  • 40 free Blacks
  • 9 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 320 slave owners
  • 825 Black slaves
  • 547 Mulatto slaves
  • 20 free Blacks
  • 9 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,190 Blacks
  • 132 Mulattoes
  • About 42 U.S. Colored Troops listed Ohio County, KY as their birth location.
For more see Ohio County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; Spider Webs, a Steamer-trunk, and Slavery by L. E. Lindley and E. L. Bennett; Papers (bulk 1857-1863), 1843-1947, Slavery - Emancipation [letters from a former slave in Liberia]; and Interview with Eva Carmen Rearding Her Life (FA154), Manuscript and Folklife Archives.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Ohio County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hartford, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Ohio County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-29 15:56:55